Screenwriter recalls decision to go public with depression

Story highlights

  • Moore won the Academy Award for his screenplay in 2015
  • Moore recently published "The Last Days of Night"

The Axe Files, featuring David Axelrod, is a podcast distributed by CNN and produced at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. The author works at the institute.

Chicago (CNN)On the biggest night of his life, on the world's biggest stage, screenwriter Graham Moore won the Academy Award and used the platform to tell a riveting story he was reluctant to share.

In publicly recounting his adolescent battles with depression and a failed suicide attempt, Moore says he fulfilled a promise he had made to himself during that stormy period in his life.
"When I was 16, I made myself a deal, that was like, 'I'm never going to discuss this publicly, I'm never going to have this be something that people associate with me unless I win an Academy Award," Moore told CNN senior political commentator David Axelrod on "The Axe Files" podcast, produced by CNN and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.
    During the hour-long conversation with Axelrod, Moore, 34, conceded that as the Oscars approached, he wrestled with whether he would carry through on his pledge. He did so, he said, in hopes of inspiring other troubled young people.
    "I sort of realized — I made this deal with myself when things were at their worst and I got through it and I owe it to the kid who I was then to stay true to my promise and to get up on stage and admit this publicly."
    Moore won the Oscar in 2015 for his screenplay of "The Imitation Game", the story of British mathematician Alan Turing, whose breaking of secret Nazi codes during World War II helped the Allies win the war. Turing was later prosecuted for homosexuality and committed suicide.
    Also the author of best-selling historical novels, Moore recently published "The Last Days of Night," recounting the dramatic battle between inventors Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse over the patent for the first electric light.
    Moore's screenplay based on the book is slated to begin filming next year, with Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne in the lead role.
    To hear the whole interview with Moore, which also touched on his love of science, why he likes writing historical fiction, his experience writing the book and screenplay of "The Imitation Game," and more, click on To get "The Axe Files" podcast every week, subscribe at